The wonders of Opéra Garnier

Words: Alice Duriez Photos: Alice Duriez
Photo Essay

A theatrical and architectural work of art, the Garnier Palace was built in the 19th century by Charles Garnier under the aegis of Baron Haussmann. Commissioned by Napoleon III, it was part of the major works intended to modernize the capital city. In 1861, when Charles Garnier submitted the plans for the new Opera house, the Empress Eugenie exclaimed: “What sort of style is that? This is neither Greek, nor Louis XIV or Louis XVI!” To which Charles Garnier responded: “This is Napoleon III”.

Charles Garnier Palace Paris

In order to successfully build the new Paris Opera house, Charles Garnier surrounded himself with the most skilled painters and sculptors of his time.

stairway opéra Granier art
Grand stairway

This is how this splendid palace made of gold and marble was born: the central staircase leads the public to the upper floors, a real show in itself before the curtain rises.

The Grand Foyer, one of the reception areas in the Opera house, was inspired by some of the most exquisite galleries of French Renaissance castles.

opera house show theatre Paris
Rotunda area for members

Marc Chagall’s superb ceiling above the stage and auditorium features famous opera and ballet productions.

stage auditorium Garnier opera Paris
“Music is the language of emotions”, Emmanuel Kant

“To us, comedy is entertainment of the mind, tragedy is entertainment of the soul and opera is entertainment for the senses”
Jean le Rond D’Alembert